Joy and merriment rented the air as excited Nigerians stormed Tafawa Balewa Square, in Lagos, to partake in the long-awaited celebration of Nigeria’s independence on Saturday, 1st of October, 1960.
Among the crowds were students, civil servants, market women, traders and others. Performers (cultural dancers, masquerades, acrobats) also were standby and eager to entertain people with their performances.
Below is a video showing Nigeria’s Independence celebration on October 1st 1960
OldNaija gathered that policemen stood in bands in different key places across the square to prevent or suppress any form of unwanted intrusion. It was indeed a wonderful sight to behold.
The celebration was not limited to the capital city of Lagos in the Western region, there were also celebrations in other regions of the country but that of Lagos was the biggest and most colourful. Nigerians who could not make it to the Tafawa Balewa Square watched the event on their black and white television sets at home.
The celebration at the Tafawa Balewa Square kicked-off with the eloquent speech of the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, in which he expressed his joy and happiness for the newly liberated nation and her people.
He went further by thanking the colonial masters and promising that Nigeria will remain in good terms with them. Read the full speech here.
The national anthem was sung and the Nigerian flag, designed by Taiwo Akinkunmi in 1959, was hoisted in replacement of the British flag. Also, Jaja Wachukwu, Nigeria’s first indigenous speaker, received Nigeria’s instrument of freedom (also called ‘Freedom Charter’) from Princess Alexandra of Kent, a member of the British royal family who represented Queen Elizabeth at the ceremony.
In the evening, the sky above the Tafawa Balewa Square came alive with a display of fireworks and shouts of happy independence. Dance troupes from different Nigerian ethnic groups displayed their dancing prowesses to the thrilled audience and acrobats awed the guests with their performances too.
A state banquet was held where dignitaries from Nigeria and other countries mingled, wined and danced. It was an unforgettable day in the history of Nigeria.
Here is another video of the Nigerian Independence celebration in 1960
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British Movietone News – A video on Nigeria’s Independence